Well known and highly regarded by the Christ Church Greenwich community and throughout the town, the nonprofit Neighbor to Neighbor organization provides nutritious food to over one thousand Greenwich area residents along with seasonally appropriate clothing. Established in 1975, in the basement of the Christ Church Greenwich’s Annex building, to distribute gently used clothing, in the 1980s Neighbor to Neighbor was asked by the Greenwich Department of Social Services to begin a food distribution program. In 2005 Christ Church Greenwich provided an additional space in the Parish House basement, which became the area’s first “client choice” food pantry.
A leader among its peers, Neighbor to Neighbor’s food pantry continues to serve as the model for area food pantries. In 2015, Neighbor to Neighbor provided food to over 660 unique families. In a typical year, the organization provides enough nutritious food to prepare 360,000 meals. Approximately 1,000 individuals visit the food pantry each month, of which: 16% are seniors, 11% are disabled, and all are low-income. The balance is comprised of individuals and families, many of whom are working. Almost half of the clients are children.
Today, Neighbor to Neighbor offers three food programs and a clothing program. A free weekly supplement of three days’ worth of food for each member of a family is available to income eligible Greenwich residents. One-time emergency food is available to residents of Stamford and Port Chester. A weekly summer supplement is available to eligible Greenwich students to bridge the gap left by the lack of free or reduced price meals during the summer months. In 2016 the summer supplement provided 14,500 meals to 320 school-age children. Clothing, linens and small household items are made available via bi-monthly appointments in Neighbor to Neighbor’s clothing room to eligible residents of Greenwich, Stamford and Port Chester. All requests for assistance must be made through Neighbor to Neighbor’s referral network.
The dedication of over 250 volunteers, including many from Christ Church Greenwich, makes this outreach possible. Generous buying agreements with local vendors and collaborations with the Connecticut Food Bank and the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County stretch buying power almost three times. More than 90% of every dollar donated goes straight to Neighbor to Neighbor’s programs.
There has been a long history of board membership from Christ Church Greenwich parishioners. Currently Kip Burgweger, Susan Day, Pam Kelly, and Karen Royce serve on the Board. Pam is a Past President and Karen is the current President. Kip has served as Secretary for several years and Susan has held several key financial leadership roles. The parish, the Altar Guild and the Nursery School have supported Neighbor to Neighbor financially over the past 16 years, as well as through ongoing drives for food, blankets, pajamas, books and clothing. In the past two ongoing Outreach Grant cycles, $6,500 was awarded to Neighbor to Neighbor. Importantly, Christ Church Greenwich has provided Neighbor’s operating space since its inception.
Neighbor to Neighbor works closely with the Greenwich Department of Social Services and TAG (Transportation Association of Greenwich) to coordinate services. Community Gardens, Garden Education Center, Greenwich Land Trust with the town’s Greenwich Youth Corp, and Old Greenwich Farmer’s Market are among the groups providing fresh produce. Local schools and other civic groups such as the Boy Scouts and Junior League of Greenwich are active in food drives throughout the year.
Youth group volunteer opportunities are available on Thursday afternoons and Saturdays. Other regular weekday morning shifts as well as one-time service days on Saturday mornings are available. Additionally, the red wagon contributions are a way for families and friends of all ages to participate in a Neighbor to Neighbor offering.
Nancy Coughlin, Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor, values the long term relationship with Christ Church Greenwich.
“We truly could not have improved the lives of our neighbors over the past 42 years without the partnership with Christ Church.”
– Nancy Coughlin, Executive Director,
Neighbor to Neighbor
Nancy continued on to say, “Church leaders and members generously have shared with us countless hours of volunteer time and substantial financial support, as well as much valued expertise and guidance over the years. Christ Church gave us a home in 1975 and has been a tireless supporter of our mission since that time. We extend our heartfelt thanks.”
Pam Kelly is the leader of Christ Church’s outreach to Neighbor to Neighbor. For more information visit ntngreenwich.org. To volunteer, donate items, run a food, clothing or diaper drive, e-mail Duncan Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.